And the Survey Says … More Finance Training is Needed for Nonprofit Groups

Apr 8th 2015
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Nearly four in five Americans believe that more financial training is needed within not-for-profit organizations, putting it on the same level as for-profit businesses, according to the results of a public opinion survey recently conducted for the American Institute of CPAs (AICPA).

Seventy-nine percent of the 1,009 respondents who participated in the ORC International CARAVAN survey for the AICPA reported that they have donated money to or volunteered services for a not-for-profit, such as a charity, foundation, social welfare or advocacy group, or religious organization. In addition, specialized professional training was considered to be significant to 78 percent of those polled. Respondents indicated that not-for-profit staffers would benefit from the same training and resources as finance professionals in other walks of life.

The survey results may encourage accountants and others working in or with the nation's not-for-profit sector to earn a certificate of educational achievement for their work in this important field. Notably, the AICPA on April 6 launched a Not-for-Profit (NFP) Certificate Program. This program is a 40-hour on-demand experience covering the essentials of not-for-profit financial responsibility.

The needs of each of the nation's 1.5 million not-for-profit entities differ substantially, so it may not be necessary for all financial advisors to be CPAs. The certificate program will allow these individuals to earn an award of educational achievement for their knowledge in the areas of accounting, tax, audit risk, and governance.

“Tens of thousands of CPAs are involved with not-for-profits as external advisors, employees, or board members,” Clar Rosso, AICPA vice president for member learning and competency, said in a press release. “Beyond that, nonprofit employment accounts for approximately 10 percent of total employment in the United States. So there are a significant number of individuals – CPAs and others – who we believe will welcome and benefit from the opportunity to earn a certificate for their important work.”

Fifty-seven percent of those polled in the CARAVAN survey would be more likely to donate money to a not-for-profit whose employees receive regular updates about financial management issues and trends.

“That should serve as a call for not-for-profit executives and board members to encourage their staff to pursue the necessary competencies,” claimed Rosso.

In the next month, the AICPA plans to offer membership in a Not-for-Profit Section that will provide timely communications, education opportunities, tools, and resources for individuals who work with or for not-for-profit entities.

This may be an opportunity to broaden your horizons.

Related articles:

10 Steps to Help Accountants Navigate Today’s Nonprofit World
Nonprofit Accounting: It’s Not for Wimps


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